The Green Children of Woolpit

Atheneum/S. & S./. Sept. 2019. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534427907.
Gr 5 Up–People in her village think foundling Agnes Walter is a liar: she sees and hears things other people can’t, and won’t stop talking about them—like the cries of two strange children trapped in a nearby pit. Agnes doesn’t know that she’s the target of a plot by Those Good People, and specifically by Senna, a girl trapped in the fairy realm for a thousand years and desperate to get out, even if the price is Agnes’s freedom. When the green children are rescued, Agnes is lured into the Otherworldly Kingdom where she learns both the truth of her own birth, and the price of her escape back to her adopted home. Will she have the wits and courage to set herself free? Although the story begins slowly, the climax is fraught with excitement and peril. Coats skillfully weaves in facts about the Fair Folk, Agnes’s parents, and the coming of the Romans to Britain in this tale that hearkens back to a medieval story first recorded by monks. The extremely unfortunate cover art (which will likely appeal to third graders rather than its intended audience) will make this a hard sell to middle or high school fantasy readers, but those who move past the artwork, and Agnes’s single-minded whining at the beginning, will be well rewarded.
VERDICT Purchase where there’s a demand for standalone fantasy.

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